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Will Thomas Tuchel regret taking Harry Kane off as Bayern Munich slipped to defeat against Real Madrid?

Harry Kane was subbed with Bayern Munich 1-0 up and heading for the Champions League final; but Joselu scored twice and a weakened Bayern were unable to stop Real Madrid setting up a meeting with Borussia Dortmund on June 1

Harry Kane
Image: Harry Kane was off the pitch and unable to help Bayern Munich launch a late comeback

Bayern Munich suffered a heart-breaking late defeat as Real Madrid secured their place in the Champions League final - but did Thomas Tuchel's substitutions cost his side?

With Bayern 1-0 up on the night and 3-2 ahead on aggregate, Tuchel's side were set to play domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund in the final at Wembley on Saturday June 1 - until Joselu struck in the 88th and 91st minutes.

Even with more than 15 minutes of added time played, Bayern were unable to force extra time - and their chances of doing so were hampered by Tuchel's decision to replace Kane and Jamal Musiala just minutes before Joselu scored.

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Football writer and broadcaster Henry Winter and The Times' Martin Hardy discuss Thomas Tuchel's decision to substitute Harry Kane in Bayern Munich's defeat to Real Madrid

They were decisions that backfired dramatically. Bayern's attacking threat dissipated entirely without Kane and Musiala. In fact, they had one shot after those changes - a Noussair Mazraoui effort that almost went out for a throw.

Tuchel said after the game that he had to replace all four of his attackers - Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane were subbed earlier in the game - due to injuries and cramp.

But with so little time left and Bayern only holding a one-goal advantage, could Tuchel have asked Kane to tough it out for the rest of the game?

Even if physically diminished, Kane has 44 goals this season and provides more of a threat than Thomas Muller and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, the forwards with a combined age of 69 that Tuchel summoned from the bench.

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The England captain had provided the assist for the Alphonso Davies goal that looked set to send Bayern to Wembley - one of two chances he created on the night, more than any other Bayern player.

Alphonso Davies celebrates after putting Bayern Munich ahead against Real Madrid with a spectacular goal
Image: Alphonso Davies celebrates after putting Bayern Munich ahead against Real Madrid with a spectacular goal

But it isn't just the Kane substitution that Tuchel may regret. In the 76th minute, Min-Jae Kim was brought on as Bayern switched to a five-player defence.

The defender endured a nightmare first leg, having a role in both Real goals, and was again at fault for the winner, playing Real's entire team onside as Antonio Rudiger crossed for Joselu.

The case for Tuchel's defence

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Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel says the decision to disallow a late goal for his side was against every rule of modern football

Kane may have claimed the assist for Davies' goal but that strike owed everything to the work done by the full-back, who was playing as a winger in place of the injured Gnabry.

In fact, Kane's pass to Davies was one of only four he completed during his entire time on the pitch - comfortably the lowest number among all players who started the game.

The 30-year-old looked off the pace for much of the game, under-hitting passes to Sane and Davies in the first half that could have started dangerous counter-attacks.

Kane also won fewer than 50 per cent of his duels, with Antonio Rudiger and Nacho nipping in to pinch the ball on several occasions.

Real Madrid players celebrate after their teammate Joselu scores his side's second goal
Image: Real Madrid players celebrate after Joselu scores his side's second goal

Tuchel was clearly unimpressed with the way his attackers performed, saying after the match: "We were not clinical enough in our counter attacks - we could have scored if we were more clinical and calm."

Kane's low-key performance plays into the narrative that he fails to step up on the biggest stages. It is a fact that, across a Champions League final, European Championship final and two League Cup finals, Kane has failed to score. Indeed, Kane has lost all four of those games.

More recently, the striker missed a penalty as England were knocked out of the 2022 World Cup in the quarter-finals by France.

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Football writer and broadcaster Henry Winter and The Times' Martin Hardy praise Jude Bellingham after Real Madrid reached the Champions League final at Wembley.

It's also true that, in six career games in the Champions League quarter-finals or beyond, Kane has scored twice - both of which were penalties.

This was Bayern's entire season - and Tuchel's Bavarian reign - on the line. With the Bundesliga already surrendered and the DFB Pokal long gone, the Champions League was the only trophy within Bayern's grasp.

They will now end the season empty-handed for the first time in over a decade, while their search for a head coach drags on after being turned down by Xabi Alonso, Julian Nagelsmann and Ralf Rangnick.

Even those rejections are unlikely to lead to a volte-face from Tuchel, who is set to leave Bayern with questions over where his career goes next - while Kane's wait for his first professional trophy goes on.

Tuchel: Attackers were injured or cramping

Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham seeks to make advances against Bayern Munich
Image: Leroy Sane struggled and was replaced by Min-Jae Kim in the 76th minute

Tuchel was criticised for his decision to replace Kane with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in the 85th minute.

Former Bayern midfielder Owen Hargreaves called it "the biggest sub I've ever seen in a game of football of that magnitude".

But Tuchel explained: "Harry Kane had back problems and Jamal [Musiala - also subbed off in Madrid] was just dead having had an injury in the last week.

"We started with a front four and all four has to go out with injury or cramp," he added to TNT Sports. "Kane was having back problems, it was no longer possible. The front four all said they had to go. It's too much at that level."

When is the 2024 Champions League final?

The final takes place on Saturday June 1 at Wembley between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund - kick off at 8pm UK time.

Follow live updates on the Sky Sports website and Sky Sports app.

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